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Do you need an inspector with deep product experience?

by Renaud Anjoran in 'Quality Inspection Blog'

I have been exchanging e-mails with an American importer who wants to start delegating quality control to a third-party inspection firm. He buys products that can be categorized as furniture products, and that are made of a few kinds of metals and acrylic materials.

His main concern is, “do you have inspectors specializing in my type of products?” He wrote this to me:

It is difficult to anticipate every possible defect that could occur and having a capable, experienced partner as well as experienced inspectors with trade-appropriate knowledge can help detect unanticipated flaws that may not be covered in the inspection plan.

He actually raises a good point. But it does not mean that he needs an inspection firm with a team dedicated to metal and acrylic products (if that even exists).

Here is my response:

Of course you need an inspector with experience in furniture. Furniture is what “hard goods” inspectors check about 30% of the time, so after a few years they are familiar with it. Guide them with a strong checklist, and you get the best result.

Unanticipated flaws can usually be found during visual inspection.

You cannot expect to get an inspector with deep product experience. It just does not exist in China. Inspectors have to write & read English to do their job, which means that they have a certain college education, which in turn means they NEVER worked in a factory.

To be fair, there are certain categories where you need a specialized inspector. Solar panels are within the “electrical products” category, but I wouldn’t choose an inspector who is only familiar with home appliances and consumer electronics.

Every importer tends to think his products are unique. But my guess is that over 80% of production issues are similar for all consumer goods made in China and low-cost Asia.

Renaud Anjoran is the founder of Sofeast Quality Control and helps importers to improve and secure their product quality in China. He writes advice for importers on the Quality Inspection blog. He lives full time in Shenzhen, China. You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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